Poinography!

February 22, 2009

Tesoro publishes gross margin data, whereas PIMAR will not

Filed under: Hawaii State Politics — Doug @ 9:56 am

Took me a few days to notice, but the Advertiser ran a story last week about the turnaround for Tesoro (one of the two refiners in Hawaii). Before my previous webhost had a disk failure, you might recall all of the posts I had written about the Petroleum Industry Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting (sic!) program and the weekly reports that are published which are of no use to consumers trying to ascertain if gasoline price gouging is happening. The weekly reports include boilerplate language claiming that gross margins (and other data) for refiners can’t be released because, with only two refiners, those data cannot be aggregated to maintain confidentiality (never mind that confidentiality could be maintained by publishing the gross margins of the refiners and withholding the useless-to-consumers volume data…). Well, what’s the need for confidentiality now that Tesoro has made public its gross refining margin data?

Hawai’i operations played a large part in the profit increase, as the refinery here produced a $140 million gross refining margin compared with a $51 million loss last year. Tesoro has taken steps to modify the plant to handle heavier crude oil in addition to the light sweet crude from Asia, while getting better prices for its production.

Those changes helped the refinery transition from being Tesoro’s worst to the best in terms of a closely watched industry metric, gross refining margin per throughput barrel.

Gross refining margin is revenue minus the cost of crude oil, purchased refined products, transportation and distribution.

In Hawai’i, the fourth-quarter margin per barrel was $23.42, compared with a negative $7.42 last year.

So, with the company making the data public, any claim to confidentiality under the PIMAR Protective Order (PDF) should go away, right? The PUC should begin publishing the data.

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